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Basques Vote Gives Big Boost To Independence



BILBAO - Two Basque independence parties have triumphed in regional elections in northern Spain’s Basque country this weekend, the latest sign of growing separatist sentiment in crisis-plagued Europe.

The two parties together took nearly two-thirds of the vote, 48 of the 75 Basque legislative seats being contested. The Basque country, currently the most prosperous region of Spain with a long and sometimes violent movement for independence, already has its own police force, parliament and president.

According to the Vanguardia, a Catalan newspaper, the results show the victory of the moderates in the independence movement.

The second-largest vote was for the EH Bildu, a separatist coalition including the political wing of the ETA, which renounced terrorism last year and was thus allowed to field candidates for the election.

The second party, PNV or Basque Nationalist Party, is also in favor of some form of autonomy from Spain, the Guardian reports. The former ruling party, the socialist PPOE party, got 16% of the vote and the conservative party of current Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy only 10 %, reports El País.

The new prime minister of the Basque country is 52-year-old Iñigo Urkullu, an abertzale, or Basque independentist since the age of 16. He has called for a “bilateral relationship” with Spain.

A former teacher and career politician, Urkullu “leaves nothing to chance, always knows what he wants,” comments El País. PNV president Andoni Ortuzar declared that “the results mean that this country wants to advance toward building a nation and social development, leaving the crisis behind, and that it wants a peaceful way to independence,” reports Basque country newspaper El Correo.

Rajoy's conservative party, which won a victory in another northern region, Galicia, this weekend, has vowed to stop any moves toward independence on the part of the Basque country or Catalonia, where polls show a narrow majority in favor of independence from Spain, the Guardian said. The Catalans are voting in November on a referendum for independence.

In recent weeks, one million Catalans marched for independence from Spain, a Scottish referendum for independence from the U.K. has been scheduled for 2014, and Flemish nationalists made advances in a municipal election in Belgium earlier this month, electing a separatist mayor of Antwerp, Belgium’s largest city, reports Der Spiegel.

Even German-speaking South Tirol, which was incorporated into Italy from Austria in 1918, and whose unemployment rate is only 4%, is complaining about being part of debt-ridden Italy. Der Spiegelnotes that secession from any member country would present the European Union with a thorny question: would the new nation also be part of the EU?

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What's Spoiling The Kids: The Big Tech v. Bad Parenting Debate

Without an extended family network, modern parents have sought to raise happy kids in a "hostile" world. It's a tall order, when youngsters absorb the fears (and devices) around them like a sponge.

Image of a kid wearing a blue striped sweater, using an ipad.

Children exposed to technology at a very young age are prominent today.

Julián de Zubiría Samper


BOGOTÁ — A 2021 report from the United States (the Youth Risk Behavior Survey) found that 42% of the country's high-school students persistently felt sad and 22% had thought about suicide. In other words, almost half of the country's young people are living in despair and a fifth of them have thought about killing themselves.

Such chilling figures are unprecedented in history. Many have suggested that this might be the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but sadly, we can see depression has deeper causes, and the pandemic merely illustrated its complexity.

I have written before on possible links between severe depression and the time young people spend on social media. But this is just one aspect of the problem. Today, young people suffer frequent and intense emotional crises, and not just for all the hours spent staring at a screen. Another, possibly more important cause may lie in changes to the family composition and authority patterns at home.

Firstly: Families today have fewer members, who communicate less among themselves.

Young people marry at a later age, have fewer children and many opt for personal projects and pets instead of having children. Families are more diverse and flexible. In many countries, the number of children per woman is close to or less than one (Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong among others).

In Colombia, women have on average 1.9 children, compared to 7.6 in 1970. Worldwide, women aged 15 to 49 years have on average 2.4 children, or half the average figure for 1970. The changes are much more pronounced in cities and among middle and upper-income groups.

Of further concern today is the decline in communication time at home, notably between parents and children. This is difficult to quantify, but reasons may include fewer household members, pervasive use of screens, mothers going to work, microwave ovens that have eliminated family cooking and meals and, thanks to new technologies, an increase in time spent on work, even at home. Our society is addicted to work and devotes little time to minors.

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